Rituxan® (There may be other brand names for this medication)
How is it Administered?
Your medicine may be given intravenously (IV), which means it will be given through a tube placed in a vein, usually in your arm, wrist, hand or chest.
What is it Used For?
This drug is used to treat some types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
How Does it Work?
Rituximab is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies, or biologic antineoplastic agents; it is a type of targeted therapy.
Normally, you body will make antibodies in response to anything it sees as a “foreign invader”, known as antigens. Antibodies attach to the antigens, and your immune system kills the invader. This cycle is part of your normal immune system.
For cancer therapies, scientists use certain proteins to made an antigen that is targeted to go for, and attach to, a specific type of cell in your body. Your antibodies sense the presence of these antigens and attack the cells.
Since monoclonal antibodies target only specific cells, they may cause less harm to healthy cells. Monoclonal antibody therapy is usually given only for cancers in which both the antigens and antibodies have been identified.
Rituximab works by targeting an antigen (CD 20) that is on both normal and malignant B-cells. B-cells are white blood cells that are an part of your immune system (your ability to fight off infections)
Stem cells (young cells in your bone marrow) do not have CD 20; they can mature and replace the B-cells destroyed by the rituximab.